By smintheus, at dkos:
The answer is “no”, according to the Bush administration. They’ve been doing their best to school Congress in this simple fact—that it can’t touch Bush & Co. It’s a lesson that Democrats have been slow to learn.
Take for example the notorious appearance of Alberto Gonzales before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. As Dahlia Lithwick notes, the Attorney General made not the slightest effort this time around to explain how and why the eight (or more) US Attorneys got fired. He didn’t try to justify himself or the administration. Instead, he just giggled at House Democrats and repeated nonsensical refrains. It was an act of defiance.
Gonzales revealed little in the daylong testimony, as Democrats grew increasingly upset with his failure to offer specifics about who decided whom to fire and why.
Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., accused Gonzales of lying when he couldn’t be pinned down on who decided to add Iglesias to the list in the eleventh hour. “Are you the attorney general?” he asked. “Do you run the Department of Justice? You know who put him on the list, but you won’t tell us.”
“I’m going to ask you the basis question, which is, if you continue to serve for 20 more months at the pleasure of the president, which I believe you will, will you, in fact, not be gun shy as a result of what happens here today?” – Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
“Contrary to being gun shy, this process is somewhat liberating in terms of going forward.” – Gonzales.
Contempt for Congress, without having to face all those pesky charges, must of course be liberating and just a little amusing too.
Bush & Co. have been hammering the point home recently. For example, yesterday we learned from Murray Waas about some further documents that the White House has withheld from Congress. These emails would demonstrate that Rove played a central role in the firing of those US Attorneys.
Several of the e-mails that the Bush administration is withholding from Congress, as well as papers from the White House counsel’s office describing other withheld documents, were made available to National Journal by a senior executive branch official, who said that the administration has inappropriately kept many of them from Congress.
The senior official said that Gonzales, in preparing for testimony before Congress, has personally reviewed the withheld records and has a responsibility to make public any information he has about efforts by his former chief of staff, other department aides, and White House officials to conceal Rove’s role…”If there was an effort within Justice and the White House to mislead Congress, it is his duty to disclose that to Congress.”
They would have a responsibility to make them public, along with all the other documents they’ve been withholding—if Congress actually mattered.